Unorthodox Elegance – Shivnarine Chanderpaul

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the first thing which comes to our mind when we think of him is his unique batting stance. But he wasn’t all about that, Chanderpaul is one of those few players who amassed truckload of runs and bored the bowlers and opposition fans to death with his unorthodox but extremely effective technique.

He was tough, an expert at grinding the opposition down and when Chanderpaul settled in, as an opposition fan, you knew you had a long day to sit through. Not the most elegant ever but an excellent timer of the cricket ball, Chanderpaul is one of the game’s greatest batsmen ever.

A look at some of his impressive numbers

  • 27935 – Number of balls Chanderpaul faced in test cricket. He is ranked #4 in the list of players who have faced the most number of balls, only behind Rahul Dravid (31258), Sachin Tendulkar (29437) and Jacques Kallis (28903).
  • 67 – Chanderpaul’s average in England. He is ranked #4 in the list of visiting batsmen with the highest average in England (minimum 500 runs). Chanderpaul scored 1399 runs in England in 13 tests with the help of 12 fifty-plus scores. Only Don Bradman (103), Steve Waugh (74), Dean Jones (70), Rahul Dravid (69) and former Proteas skipper Graeme Smith (68) average more than him.
  • 7 – Chanderpaul scored 7 hundred vs India. Only 3 players have scored more hundreds vs India. Gary Sobers, Viv Richards & Ricky Ponting have scored 8 hundreds vs India.
  • 9635 – Number of runs Chanderpaul scored while batting at number 5 or lower. Only Steve Waugh with his tally of 10479 runs is ahead of him. However, Chanderpaul’s average of 58 is superior to Waugh’s 52. #3 on the list, Michael Clarke has 2752 runs less than Chanderpaul.
  • ICC Cricketer Of The Year In 2008
  • Only Cricketer ever to play 1000 consecutive balls in test cricket without getting dismissed.

While Chanderpaul was a better batsman in test cricket, he did a fairly good job in ODI cricket as well. He is one of the only 14 players (minimum 5000 runs) to average in excess of 50 in tests as well as in excess of 40 in ODIs.

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Partnership With Brian Lara and Lone Warrior

When Chanderpaul arrived on the scene, West Indies was a very good test team. With the time and with the retirement of many legendary players, West Indies cricket was on a decline. For many years, Brian Lara & Chanderpaul were the mainstays of the team. Chanderpaul was to Lara what Rahul Dravid was to Sachin Tendulkar. With Lara’s departure, Chanderpaul was the main batsman of the team and oftentimes, a lone warrior as well. His patience, unfazed determination and immense grit were the reasons why Chanderpaul stood tall when his partners would fall down on the other end.

Talking about Chanderpaul and his partnership in an interview, Brian Lara said, He had something burning inside, you could see it. He wanted to do well nearly every single time. At no time while batting with him, I felt if I was a better player or overshadowing him. He knew that if we have a partnership, if I control the partnership in terms of scoring the majority of runs, he was still playing his part. He is definitely one of my favourite cricketers ever”.

Since Brian Lara’s departure and until his retirement, Chanderpaul was the best batsman of his team by a mile. He scored 5236 runs at a brilliant average of 64 while 2nd best batsman in terms of average was Chris Gayle. Gayle scored 2997 runs at an average of 48. This shows how dependant West Indies were on Chanderpaul. He was the torchbearer of West Indies cricket in dark.

Since 2007, the year where he averaged over 100, Chanderpaul was one of the most prolific batsmen in world cricket in whites.

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While talking about his career when he was still active, once Chanderpaul said, “I have been hearing a lot of things over the years from people who are around and people who have played for the West Indies, saying things like you are skinny, pony and you would never play so many matches, you will never play 100 test matches. I have been hearing a lot of negative things in past but I am actually happy that I did all of it”.

No doubt, every time we think about Chanderpaul, his unique batting stance will be the first thing which comes to our mind, but he will always be remembered for his grit, patience and determination . He had his own way of doing things but he did it with perfection!

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